The practical things…
Now, these are the sensible things that are really not stylish in any way, but are essential for safety and for making life easier on your well deserved holidays. I sound so mumsy and so boring now don’t I? I’m not I promise 🙂
I always hated those uv rash vests, I still do. But when Rose was born and (true to her name) she came out with pasty english rose skin, it took one day on our holiday in the searing Caribbean heat for me to cave in and buy one. They totally stop prickly heat and nasty uv rays and give you peace of mind. Especially when you have wriggly toddlers who are in and out of the water and can’t stand still long enough for you to apply their sun cream properly! (I use La Roche Posay cream btw. It’s the best and doesn’t turn clothes yellow – not the aerospray though as it runs out after 2 days! )
Anyway, I’ve searched high and low and I think I’ve found the least offensive rash vests, floats, water shoes, sun hats and any other ugly practical equipment you might need!
- Archimede red blue anchor float suit £25 – size up in these as they’re really small (So for a 2 year old I would get age 3 etc) or JoJo Maman Bebe £23
- Gap navy american flag older boys UV t-shirt £17.95
- Gap long sleeve UV top up to 5yrs £9.95
- Gap navy hooded UV top £9.95
- Archimede float suit navy stripe £32 and here – size up in these as they’re really small. or this one from JoJo Maman
- Gap off white hooded UV top £9.95
- Gap floral UV top and knickers £10.99
- Archimede floating swimming costume £25 size up in these as they’re really small.
- Yellow puddle jumper float £18.55 and available on good ol’ Amazon Prime!
- Next striped hooded towel (red & pink) £16
I will be buying the off white hooded rash guard for Rose. It’s plain and simple so will go with most bikini bottoms and the hood can be used for those kids who can’t keep a hat on!
The puddle jumper is an absolute must for poolside toddlers. It’s brilliant. They can’t pull it off, it keeps them afloat safely on their backs rather than planting their heads into the water like most floats. And this duck one is actually quite cute 🙂
I have also used the Archimede float suits in the past. They’re expensive (full price £44) but there really cute and my kids wore theirs every day until they stopped being a liability by a swimming pool. So it ended up being worth the money. Jojo Maman Bebe also do a cheaper version that I can just about cope with.
Giant bags (I’m not talking about the ones under my eyes) have become an essential part of my holiday. I normally take a lovely huge basket like this chic monogrammed one from Rae Feather, be sure to get the long handled version as if you’re like me, you’ll be carrying one babe and holding hands with your others, so shoulder straps are far more practical. You can get a similar, cheaper verosion from this lovely store but they’re out of stock until July, they do matching mini versions too though, soo cute. Anyway, you most definitely need a giant bag to ferry around towels, snacks, suncreams, buckets, spades, hats, basically the entire world. I also couldn’t live without a Longchamp large traveller. I have had mine for years and years and it has been packed to the rafters on every flight, swimming lesson, picnic and beach trip. It’s never broken. I call it, my old trusty. I would get a dark colour..the beige and cream, though lovely, won’t look good for long.
The giant bag needs these see-through M&S compartments inside. Otherwise your bag just becomes an abyss of leaky suncreams and soggy biscuits and you’ll never find anything. And because you can actually see what you’ve got in your little bags you won’t leave with only one nappy or with an empty bottle of suncream.
The Griffin Survivor iphone case. An essential, not just for when you’re away, but for general mum life. If ever there was a particularly vulnerable time for your phone, it’s going to be on a holiday with little ones. It gets sand in it, falls in the water, gets thrown across a restaurant in a tantrum, dropped off a balcony. You name it, my phone has been through it, and survived! Get one.
***Oooh and my absolute family beach holiday essential and number 1 tip! TALC POWDER!!*** Your little ones will get sand in every possible crevice and it can make them sore. Sand sticks to everything (especially sun creamed bodies) and it it so hard to get out of curly kids’ hair!! All solved with quick dust of baby powder, the sand just falls off in one foul swoop. Really amazing! It’s a permanent fixture in my beach bag. The Lucas Paw Paw ointment is another staple. I just put it on everything and it seems to work – burns, bites, eczema, nappy rash etc
Finally, a hamam towel. So much better than lugging big, chunky, damp towels around. Can be used as a picnic rug, a blanket, a shade and a quick drying (nice looking) towel. And I’ve thrown in this other basket from The Tipi because I love it and you can never have too many baskets.
- Igor red jelly shoes £17.95 They also come in bright yellow which look really sweet
- Sun-san Saltwater Surfer sandals £39
- Igor navy jelly shoes £17.95 . I actually prefer the solids navy ones better
- Igor waterproof birks style £19.99
- Next blue and yellow sliders £12
- Igor clear jelly shoes £17.95
- Native Jefferson shoes £40 or a Gap alternative for £14.95
- Crocs bumper toes shoes £24
Now, I know I will offend loads of people here, so I’m really sorry in advance, but I just have to say a massive urgh to ‘the croc’. I know they are practical and comfortable and kids love them but I just. can’t. bear. how they look. I really can’t. They’re so plastic and colourful and chunky and clunky and just not in any way stylish. I have spent almost 5 years avoiding the dreaded croc clog and have not succumbed yet.
So, what’s the alternative? They sell flip flops and Havaianas for kids in aLondon of the shops but they’re not great for running around in and most kids don’t like the plastic between their toes. My kids have always just worn sun-sans. I love them as they’re totally waterproof and robust and they can’t take them off themselves until they’re a bit older. Is there anything more annoying than your kids taking their shoes off every time they get in the car!? (or when it’s dangerous to do so obviously.)
I know lots of mums prefer their kids to have shoes they can slip on and off though. Of course, the country with the best dressed kids in the world has brought us a stylish solution. Igor is a spanish brand of wellies and waterproof sandals, all cute, none make their feet look like plastic boats. The good old fashioned jelly shoes, which have been around since we were kids are so cute and the ‘birks style’ slip ons are really cool and look comfortable too.
The other style I like is the Native. I first saw them in America a few years ago and they’re a great alternative. They’re unisex (although I would get this colour for a girl) and they’re totally practical and wearable. Now, thankfully, it seems someone over at Crocs HQ has been inspired and they have just launched a copy of the Natives. My sister bought a pair for her son to try them out and they’re actually pretty damn cool. They’re cheaper too! I honestly never thought I would be mentioning crocs on here in any sort of positive light but I do highly recommend this new style!
Anyway, if I can convince just one of you to try any of these alternatives to those clogs I will be very happy!
Consider yourself #hipministyled 🙂
ps. next up: sun hats